On Tuesday, Business Insider broke the news in North America about Apple removing AppGratis from their App Store. Now new European report has surfaced that weighs in on the matter. The reports states the French have always loved Apple. Its elegant products and nimble operating systems, and its underdog struggles against IBM and Microsoft in the 1980s, are especially appealing in a country that prides itself on being chic, clever and revolutionary. Apple's two stores in central Paris nestle in locations that are dear to French hearts—under the Louvre and directly opposite the Opéra.
But the love affair is fading—in official circles at any rate—as concern grows that the technology giant's market grip threatens to suffocate a business in which French entrepreneurs have been successful: designing applications for mobile devices. The government has made a fuss over Apple's eviction from its app store of a popular product developed by a French start-up firm. AppGratis offers its users one free app a day, charging developers for making their products known to a wider audience.
The European report states that Simon Dawlat, the boss of AppGratis and creator of its eponymous product, thinks the app performs a valuable service in providing "a continuous stream of editorial picks" of the highest quality from the complex world of apps. Around 12m people have downloaded AppGratis, he says, and perhaps a quarter of them at least consider the chosen app each day. First marketed outside France in 2012, AppGratis has at times been the most popular free entertainment download for devices running Apple's iOS operating system in 78 countries including the United States, according to App Annie, a market-research firm. In early 2013 AppGratis had raised more than €10m ($13m) for an expansion that has now been put on hold.
Apple says AppGratis flouted its bans on promoting other publishers' products and on using "push" notifications for paid marketing. Apple dislikes apps that serve as shopfronts for other ones. It worries that "app-discovery" products can help developers with deep pockets move their apps up the league tables and distort the market. So it is rather puzzling that a version of AppGratis for iPads was approved less than a week before the mobile-phone version was evicted from the app store, and that other app-discovery applications are still available there. Perhaps AppGratis was growing too popular too quickly and that was its real fault.
Fleur Pellerin, France's digital-economy minister, castigated Apple on April 11th for its "brutal" treatment of AppGratis and spoke of tightening the regulation of giant internet firms, in France and at European Union level.
The country's competition authority is looking into the relationship between app stores—Google's no less than Apple's—and developers. Those interested in this story could find more details on this matter from TechCrunch.
Did Apple make the right move to remove AppGratis? Is the French Government minister over reacting and overreaching? Send in your comments and tell us what your take on this matter is.
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